Judas Priest and Beyond: Welcome to Hell


The imagery of many of the bands of this era, caused a problem with parents and authorities alike.  And then there was Venom.  Satanism and other such topics had been associated with hard rock and metal since the very beginning.


Venom went flat out and turned it all the way up.  Black Sabbath may have nodded towards the issue but Venom came flat out and said “Fuck you! We’re the devil!”.  The music was faster, louder and more evil than anything that existed at the time.  Added to this was their stage performances and names like Cronos, Abaddon and Mantas.

In America, the thrash bands perked their ears up at the speed of the songs and in Europe, they helped set out the image and context for what would become the Black Metal scene.  Perhaps, it was because they were from Newcastle rather than London or Birmingham, that encouraged them to be more willing to push the button than others.  The emphasis on the speed over technical prowess of their songs, allied to their reputation with the media, caused perhaps taken less seriously as a result.

This was reflected in the poor sales figures of “Welcome to Hell” and “Black Metal”.  The line-up has been changing since the mid-80’s and at the moment, there are two separate entities of the band.


Welcome to Hell, A Thousand Days in Sodom, Live Like An Angel (Die Like a Devil), Black Metal, Countess Bathory, Women, Leather and Hell and Long Haired Punks.



Coming out of Derby, Witchfynde along with bands like Venom, incorporated a darker and more satanic imaginary and sound into their metal.  This set them apart from most of the other bands of that era.

They were a big influence on the nascent black metal movement.  This was especially in use with their album art for their debut release of “Give ‘em Hell”.  Attention to the band was soon gathered by continuous playing by Tommy Vance on radio 1 and embarking on a tour with the likes of Def Leppard.  Subsequent releases after that failed to build on that unfortunately and record label problem aligned to the usual suspects of line-up changes and a change in sound, soon helped to bring about the break-up of the band.

A reunion came about thanks to the release of a best-of album in 1999 and the band still tours today.  Recommendations:

Give ‘em Hell, The Divine Victim, Stab in the Back, Wake Up Screaming



Coming out of Staffordshire, Demon, soon developed a fervent audience from NWOBHM fans.  This gave them the launching base for now revered debut album “Night of the Demon”.

Gradually though, the band started to change their style and by third album “The Plague”, Demon had a more progressive hard rock and political themed styling.  They were then a big influence on the more progressively inclined bands of the 80’s, such as Voivod and Coroner.  The death of original guitarist, Mal Spooner, and the release of one or two weaker albums threatened the survival of the band, but they persevered and with some critically acclaimed albums, they remained, and still tour to this date.  Recommendations:

Night of the Demon, Into the Nightmare, The PlagueFever in the City, The Only Sane Man, Total Possession



The band from this era that was possibly too far of itself to ever stand a chance.  They were very different to a great deal of the NWOBHM crowd, by use of their stage show which employed the use of corpse paint, exploding bibles and a shed load of fire.  They also incorporated a great deal of symphonic and gothic styles in their music.

Indeed, in their prime, they did not even manage to actually record an album.  Instead, they left behind a series of demo’s, EP’s and amazed fans that had come to see them.  A matter of weeks before they were due to record their debut album, their record deal fell apart, and the band broke up.  Distraught at this, front-man Dave Halliday, committed suicide.   It took the constant urging of celebrity fans, Andy Sneap and Martin Walkier of Sabbat fame, to bring about the resurrection of the band.  David Bower, brother of guitarist Kevin, came in to re-record Halliday’s vocal parts.

This brought about a series of dates and festivals across Europe and getting even greater acclaim than they ever had.  Recommendations:

On Earth as it is in Hell, Save us From Those Who Would Save Us, The Devil’s Deadly Weapon, Plague and Fyre, Blasphemy and the Master


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